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Tuesday, July 19, 2011
What is this? Am I working on my own version of Jurassic Park? Not exactly, but it is very strange. Not so strange in what it is-- it's the shed skin of the final nymph instar of the cicada. In this picture, it really looks like it came from another planet, don't you think?
What's strange is that it doesn't belong here this year. Cicadas spend most of their lives underground. The emerge from the ground and fly around mating and laying eggs once every so often. Some species are seen once every 17 years, others have a 13-year cycle. There is no brood that is supposed to emerge in Michigan in 2011. This means that this one individual has somehow gotten out of sync.
Here's the back view of the skin- you can see the split in the back where the winged adult emerged.
I can't tell what species this is from just the shell. Maybe experts can. The genus is Magicicada. Indiana and Illinois are supposed to have emergences this year, so maybe this is a stray.